Better be careful. Daddy told me to use invisible ink for the diary. Earlier too, he had told the media that the CIA was behind all this. I can’t comment because, like a good foreign service officer, I read only the New York Times, WSJ etc and, of course, the ‘Maids Available’ columns in the dailies. Now, as a junior diplomat I was never in touch with the CIA. The return trip to Mumbai was rather disappointing. Expected at least a ticker-tape welcome, a guard of honour by elite units of a Dalit brigade, but nothing. Once again, Dad took over. Time for discretion, he advised. He had more reason to be careful because Uddhav Thackeray blamed him unnecessarily for calling the Marathi media casteist.
I have a busy schedule ahead of me. The Mumbai branch of the Indian Foreign Officers association is honouring me with a dinner. But I am more interested in hush-hush, closed-doors meetings with select senior IFS personnel with experience in the US to discuss how I should have handled the situation in New York. Especially on problems like how much to promise the maids and how much to actually pay them, what kind of leftovers be given to them, how many minutes of free time daily they be allowed out and so on. I wish I had been briefed on these issues which are so much more important than N-disarmament, peace with Pak and soon. These F.O. bosses are real dadas and I thanked them for standing by me while they appeared before TV cameras. Very professional, and I am certain that our national foreign policy is safe in their hands.
Back in Delhi, the picture was depressing and I would rather blame our government. Retaliatory action was okay but it should not affect us or our friends. What was the need to cut those brilliant facilities—clubs, duty-free liquor shops and great movie screenings—which greatly helped Indian diplomatic efforts. Ask any senior diplomat, he would tell you the same.
Considering all this, India is not a bad place. We normally had 7-8 domestic helps though we did not have to pay all of them. When Dad was GM of BEST, we had at least a dozen staff as our domestic helps. And then without proper briefing we are thrown into the New York jungle where the maid-ayah-cook-gardener had to be paid as much as we were. What of the future? Whoever becomes the future prime minister, he should lay down firm rules on this problem. With Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal in the running, the foreign office could take a beating. As PM, he could demand that Indian diplomats and their families do their own domestic chores with the government providing brooms, mops and cleaning liquid.
The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’; E-mail your secret diarist: vgangadhar70 AT gmail.com
Nice piece of satire (The Secret Diary of Devyani Khobragade, Jan 27).
V.K. Guptan, Bangalore
Great piece. As a diplomat, one is expected to bring countries closer together, but in this case Devyani threw a monkey wrench with her maid dealings. She ought to be suspended from her job.
M.K. Chaitanya, Singapore
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Women must never be given powerful positions
They neither do themselves, nor the service, any good.
And then blame males for their troubles eventually.
You forgot to assert that the baby girl Khobra is innocent. She was Dy Consul General of Culture and woman's rights! She upholds the rights of women to have as many maids as possible but also provide full freedom to steal from their wages to save money for the next generation, a genetic disease which is incurable with available medicines and other medical procedure. She is declared most efficient by Papa Khobra and hence expecting a very good assignment. The maid who was underpaid Indian Citizen was a CIA agent bent on stealing information for the US government. But baby girl Khobra repents that if she had paid her the minimum wages CIA would not have been able to lure her with money for house-hold information from the DCG household. US government can not extract information from her husband who is a US citizen because he can not be lured with money as he earns decent wages in the university where he teaches. More over he saves money for his house hold because Indian tax payer picks up the tab for child care, nanny and maid service in New York. So he can't be lured with money in return for information from the household of the Dy Consul General! That is why a US citizen ( in fact three of them) in the house hold is NOT a risk to the country but an underpaid nanny is a great risk and hence she should be brought back to India and incarcerated into the Indian prison for 20 years for her treason of passing information to CIA. Actually, high treason will put her behind bars for life if not capital punishment. And baby Girl Khobra should be felicitated for breaking the CIA plot against the nation and awarded a Bharath Ratna at the earliest.
She is a true her father's creation. Her father is a true Bishkhopada. She got the taste of diplomacy. Father daughter duo is busy abusing USA. There should be fair investgation of criminal conduct in India.
A nice piece of satire.
Great piece ganadhar. as a diplomat, one is expected to bring both countries together but in this case she through a monkey wrench because she did not know how to conduct her personal dealings with maid. for that she should be suspended from her job.
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